Millennials Are The Future (Or The Now)
During the pandemic we have been talking a lot about the growth or resurgence golf has seen over the past 18 months. It is incredible really that the game has seen rounds of golf return to numbers we haven’t seen since the early 90’s. Tara and I have spent numerous hours discussing this topic. What we have realized is the growth in golf has really come from Millennials (aged 25 – 40 years old) or more specifically a sub-set of this group call Young Millennials (aged 25 – 32). If you are 33 40 years old you are now called an “Old Millennial”. I wish I was still one of those.

Retention of Young Millennials in Golf
As part of our discussion about this group we realized we need to pay specific attention to them. They are different than the Baby Boomer or Gen-X generations. How we treat them, communicate to them and market to them should not be the same way we do things with the aforementioned groups. We know softball, rugby, soccer, baseball and group gatherings are all coming back in 2022. For this reason, it is very important that the golf industry change our focus to the Young Millennial group of new/ returning golfers. Junior golfers are the future and we fully support junior golf initiatives but Millennials are the NOW. They have the time, money and desire to look for a new activity.

CK Golf and Our Team of Millennials

Tara and I decided we needed to better understand Millennials and what makes them ‘tick’. Luckily we have two great ones working for us, our Executive Assistant, Erica and our Associate Jordie. Both are in their mid-20’s so they fit perfectly into the demographic that we want to learn more about. We held a Zoom round table with the four of us to do a Q & A and learn about their likes and dislikes in marketing, communication and what is important to them in selecting a golf course to play. The answers may surprise you a bit!

What Is Important To Millennials When Selecting A Golf Course?
Here is a list of things we learned that all golf courses can implement:

  • Environmental stewardship matters – Audubon certification, bat boxes, vegetables grown in a course’s own garden, etc. rank high for this group and they rank a golf course higher on their “to play” list if they do (and  talk about) these things.
  • Craft beer selection – This group does not drink Bud or Coors Lite (like the Baby Boomers) and will choose a golf course based on the post round food and beverage selection.
  • Instagram – Both Erica and Jordie indicated that Instagram is there preferred communication and marketing channel. But it is not Instagram posts but rather ‘reels’ and ‘stories’ that they gravitate to. They don’t love Facebook marketing (the Boomers still do) and email (the Boomers still do) without great images AND too much text in emails loses their attention quickly.
  • Booking tee times – This group admitted they like other sports, softball for example, because you know you play every week on Thursday at 7pm. No need to find players, book the field, etc. They just show up and play. This might be a tough one for the golf industry, but Millennial leagues with pre-booked 7pm tee times in summer might be a thing??
  • History of the game – Both admitted stated they didn’t understand much about the history and traditions of golf, but admitted they look for golf courses that have a fun vibe and relaxed dress code (especially for their non or new golf friends). They want to be welcomed!

The Most Interesting Thing… that came from our roughly one hour discussion with Erica and Jordie was… greens, tees and fairway conditions were NOT mentioned one single time. They care less about golf course conditions than all of the above points. VERY INTERESTING PERSPECTIVE.

We, Jeff and Tara Ciecko of CK Golf write two blogs, one is our 19th Hole Blog where we share personal experiences and the other an Industry Blog where we comment on general business and internet marketing best practices, sales strategies and give golf industry related opinions. We have owned CK Golf  for 14 years and provide business services to the golf and other industries. As of July 31, 2016 our life and our business became ‘location independent’. Our 19th Hole Blog is about the places we visit and the things we do. If you have any questions or comments, or happen to be in the same location as us please reach out and contact us anytime.